How Can I Tell How Attractive I Really Am?

How Can I Tell How Attractive I Really Am?
Hi Evan,

I have been reading your blog for over a year now and I have also bought your book Why He Disappeared. I enjoy a lot of the advice and generally agree with most of it.

You generally maintain the reason why people are single is they over-assess themselves and rate themselves higher than what they originally are. Like a 6 thinking she is an 8. So my question today is basically this: how do you correctly analyze yourself? I always feel like asking people I am around (good friends, coworkers etc.) but I am scared it might ruin things/make things uncomfortable and basically they might tell me what I want to hear.

So is there an objective way to quantify yourself so that you are clear in where you stand? –Sharon

Thanks for the self-aware question about not being entirely self-aware.

I’ve always used a metaphor to describe people and their attractiveness ratings.

Think of it like a clothing store.

You’re introducing a new brand of milk. It’s no different than anyone else’s 2% milk, but it’s your unique packaging. You’re targeting wealthy people who want the best of the best in everything. To that end, you price your milk at $10/gallon.

Nobody buys it.

Does anyone that you want to date want to date you back?

There’s nothing wrong with the milk. It’s just not finding its target market.

You lower the price to $9. $8. $7. $6. $5…

Your mind is blown because you thought that your milk was different and special and it turns out that no matter how strongly you felt about your unique brand, other people – your buyers – only valued it at a lesser rate.

It’s basic supply and demand and it’s about the only way to see what your value is.

Sure, you can put your face up on HotOrNot or buy one of those Ugly iPhone apps to gauge your “scientific” attractiveness rating. But that’s not particularly telling.

More telling is this: does anyone that you want to date want to date you back?

If not, you’re overestimating yourself, no matter what “number” you think you are.

Listen, we overestimate ourselves because it’s necessary. No one would want to wake up in the morning, thinking that she’s ugly, stupid, mean, and has bad taste in clothing, music, and décor. But if you look around, there are a lot of stupid, ugly, mean people with bad taste, aren’t there?

So a measure of self-delusion is not only normal, but somewhat healthy for survival.

People respond to confident people and whether the confidence is deserved or not doesn’t really matter, as long as each delusional pot finds a delusional lid.

The only time that this overconfidence bias becomes a problem is when there’s a severe disconnect between reality and fantasy.

The 62-year-old guy who writes to you online when you’re 31? If he starts to take things personally, he’s gonna go through some hard times. He may be a great catch, but if he’s holding out for exclusively women who DON’T want him, he’ll likely be alone for a really, really, really long time.

I don’t judge him. He wants what he wants. But I do feel bad for him.

Everyone becomes choosier online because we’re comparing you to other, younger, taller, richer, smarter people in a way that we don’t in real life.

He’s overestimated himself and forgotten that the 31-year-old could have any man – 30, 35, 40, 45, 50… there’s virtually NO reason she would choose to go out with him.

Flip that over and apply this logic to yourself, Sharon.

If every guy you write to online is a 9 and none of those guys write back, they probably don’t see you as a “9” as well.

Keep going down the list – writing to the 8s, 7s, 6s, and 5s. The ones who start writing back are the ones at your level.

For most people, this reality check is quite a slap in the face.

And that’s exactly why I do it with all my private clients.

I have no tolerance for people who don’t embrace reality and if a fit 50-year-old woman is only going to write to hot 45-year-old guys who claim to want 35-year-old women, she’s most definitely wasting her time.

To put a final point on it, online dating isn’t the best arbiter for your attractiveness number. Everyone becomes choosier online because we’re comparing you to other, younger, taller, richer, smarter people in a way that we don’t in real life.

In real life, your physical attractiveness number is completely affected by your personality.

Overweight women, women with large noses, women who are older – name your physical bugaboo – all become sexier when attached to a bright, vibrant, positive, engaging personality. Which is why the photo test is, at best, limited.

Still, if you’re only holding out for men who have no interest in you, you’re probably overestimating yourself and should take it down a peg. Same exact advice applies to all men, so please, no angry comments, okay? ☺

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Comments:

  1. 151
    Karl R

    Soul said: (#153)
    “this one post of yours is really bad, and mean. I thought you were driven by facts, not emotions.”

    I’m driven by facts. Not everyone is. If I’m trying to make a point to the other half of the population, I will sometimes have to step away from the facts and address emotions.

    mara is very impressed by her own intellectual accomplishments, and she seems to believe that men will be similarly impressed. I’m one of the men who values intelligence, and she has completely failed to impress me.

    Men don’t select women based on their résumés. If a woman can communicate intelligently, we view her as intelligent. If she can’t, we don’t. We’re going to date the woman, not hire her. If a woman is communicating verbally, that will be based upon how she speaks. If it’s written communication (like an online profile), it will be based on how she writes.

    If a woman is speaking poorly because she’s not speaking her primary language, then her intellect “doesn’t count” for that language.

    It doesn’t matter whether you believe this is fair. (My strong suit is math/logic, not writing/communication, so it’s certainly not advantageous to me.) But inside my relationships, the main form of intellect I exercise is communication and interpersonal skills. It makes sense why those get the most weight.

    Soul said: (#153)
    “1) Having a PhD does not mean that one can write properly (it could be PhD in maths, or in Arts, or any other subject that does not require you to write long or beautiful sentences;”

    Look up some doctoral theses online. You choose the subject: math, arts, any other subject.

    Find one that didn’t require much writing.

    If mara has a Ph.D., then she did a lot of writing along the way. Beautiful sentences probably weren’t required. Correct sentences certainly were.

  2. 152
    Joe

    Gotta say Karl is spot-on. Mara sounds like an amazing, accomplished woman, but if she wrote her proposal and thesis the way she writes posts here, her advisor would toss them back to her after reading the first paragraph. Three times, apparently, since she says she’s got three PhDs.

  3. 153
    Helen

    Karl R & Joe: you’re both being a bit harsh here.

    Joe: Every poor PhD student gets his/her dissertation tossed back multiple times, regardless of the quality of the writing. Besides, mara didn’t say she had 3 PhDs; she said she has a PhD and speaks 3 languages fluently.

    Karl R, you wrote: ‘If a woman is speaking poorly because she’s not speaking her primary language, then her intellect “doesn’t count” for that language.’ Wow – I’m afraid I have to disagree strongly with this one. Intellect manifests itself in many ways that don’t depend upon the fluency of one’s adopted language. She might have “street smarts,” even in a foreign nation. She might have the ability to read people and their intentions easily. She might know how to navigate around difficult situations. She might possess the emotional intelligence to gain friends and lovers. And she can do quantitative reasoning in any language.

    Are you saying that, as a man who values intellect, you would not consider an intelligent woman who is not fluent in English?

  4. 154
    Nicole

    @Helen,
    I can’t speak for them but my guess is that it is hard for your intellect to shine through if you are speaking in a second language, and that can last a lifetime. Conversation can be really important to some people, and being able to have a conversation with a partner can be what men like Karl want. (And i’m on board with that idea myself).

    At any rate, having recently finished a graduate program with a lot of classmates for whom English was a second language (and yet it was a program where communication is a necessity), many of them acknowledged and kind of had two different personalities depending on which language they were using. We had a really great conversation at a dinner party about how the people who didn’t share their language (some students did) didn’t really know them at all. They readily admitted that we only had a partial glimpse b/c they didn’t speak English well and we didn’t speak their languages. It wasn’t intentional, but people who were chatty, outgoing, and confident in their native tongues were sometimes quiet and more withdrawn in a crowd of English speakers. And yes, it did impact relationships and the ability to have certain interactions with other students.

    He’s not full of it or mean for admitting that. I’m around a lot of non-English speakers and the difference between them is night in day when they are in English vs. their mother tongue. It kind of reminds me of how some of these silly stereotypes about women from certain countries get started. I see some women giggle when someone says something that they dont’ understand. And they aren’t gigglers in other settings.

    Plus, Mara did set herself up by bragging about her background and then lacking the ability to write well enough to back it up.

    See, all of the women who brag about being supermodels don’t ever have to back up their bragging b/c we can’t see them. Unfortunately for Mara, she bragged about her intelligence and then followed up with a lot of poor writing (and apologies indeed if it is b/c she is writing in another tongue, but I wouldn’t go onto a website in a foreign language bragging about how brilliant I was if I wasn’t fully fluent in that language). She unintentionally backed herself into a corner saying something that sounded ridiculous based on how her post was written.

  5. 155
    Karl R

    Helen asked: (#156)
    “Are you saying that, as a man who values intellect, you would not consider an intelligent woman who is not fluent in English?”

    Not unless we shared fluency in some other language.

    It’s nearly impossible to have an intelligent conversation with someone if you can barely converse. I’m more likely to have an intelligent conversation with someone who has only average intelligence.

    In the past I dated a couple women who were close to average intelligence, but whom possessed communication skills which equalled or exceeded mine. It works both ways.

    Helen said: (#156)
    “Intellect manifests itself in many ways that don’t depend upon the fluency of one’s adopted language.”

    That’s completely true. It’s also completely irrelevant.

    When is the last time you asked your husband to do quantitative reasoning for you?

  6. 156
    Helen

    Karl R: “When is the last time you asked your husband to do quantitative reasoning for you?”

    We do it together all the time. How can you not when you’re a couple, unless you keep completely separate finances? We talk about investing, saving, spending, etc. – I won’t reveal too much more. But it seems self-evident that you want to have a mate who is able to reason quantitatively.

    Nicole: I didn’t say that Karl was full of it or mean. And I agree with you that mara did set herself up. My beef with her is not the same one Karl and Joe had: I do believe she is intelligent. However, she seems extremely self-conscious, which is not the best trait in someone seeking a long-term relationship.

  7. 157
    Soul

    @Karl:

    I am sorry to say that I think your latest comments are not only irrelevant , but they are anything BUT logic (sorry, sorry, sorry…. please forgive me loool).

    My writing is bad despite the fact that I have a PhD in Economics (360 pages written in English)…. Oh ! and my writing in French is excellent so it is certainly true that you would prefer to read the 600-page PhD dissertation that I have written in FRench (in another subject). However, my Econ dissertation is much better research-wise, and I have gained much more recognition for it.

    On a last note, intelligence and communication CAN be related, but they DON’T HAVE to. If communication is important for you, then you should simply state that communication is important for you.

    If A+B=C, and B=C, then A =…… (fill in th
    . If YOU are smart, you’ll be able to answer that question and even if you make poor sentences in French, or German, or Chinese, another intelligent/tolerant human being will understand.

  8. 158
    Soul

    # @ Karl:

    I should probably add that based on your different posts and comments, you seem to be extremely smart. It would be stupid to judge you or your logic based on just a few sentences, thrown on a the web, in God only knows what circumstances…. It is never a good idea to jump too fast to conclusions about others

  9. 159
    Margaret

    I really get depressed when i read the comments of the men here, but Karl and Nathan give me faith. And Evan, I can take it, I appreciate that you do not censor, for the most part.

  10. 160
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#159)
    “But it seems self-evident that you want to have a mate who is able to reason quantitatively.”

    We will probably keep our finances far more separate than you and your husband do. We certainly don’t consult each other on our investments, and we have rather different investment styles.

    But provided she can manage her personal finances (which the average person is capable of), her quantitative skills aren’t nearly as important as her ability to converse intelligently. I’m marrying her, not hiring her.

    And if you want to use Soul’s example (#160) of quantitative analysis, do you find that to be stimulating conversation?

    Personally, I find a good joke to be far more stimulating … and that’s highly dependent on language usage.

    Soul said: (#160)
    “If communication is important for you, then you should simply state that communication is important for you.”

    I’m not sure how this is relevant to what I said to mara, or what I said to you earlier.

    However, communication is important to all relationships. (Or do you disagree with that?) But there is a difference between communicating, and being able to communicate intelligently. Unintelligent communication is a turn-off.

    More importantly, if you communicate in an unintelligent manner, people will assume that you’re unintelligent. We’re not giving an IQ test to every person we meet. We’re not checking what kind of grades they got in school. We’re not checking to see what kind of education they had. We communicate, and then we draw conclusions about their intelligence.

    Soul said: (#161)
    “It is never a good idea to jump too fast to conclusions about others”

    If someone (on the internet) says, “I am a Phd”, is it jumping too fast to conclusions to assume that they’re telling the truth?

    This is the internet. I could claim to be a U.S. Senator.

    Instead of assuming the person is telling the truth, we may seek some corroborating evidence (like looking at the way they use language). In fact, we may place more weight on the supporting evidence than the person’s claim.

    Humans make quick assumptions about others. It’s a survival trait that we evolved with. You can claim that “it is never a good idea”, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have all evolved to do it. We all do it, often without even being aware of it.

    If mara wants other people (like her potential dates) to assume she is intelligent, then she needs to communicate intelligently. Or she can brag about having a Ph.D., having a high IQ, speaking 3 languages, etc. … which will probably go over about as well as it did here.

  11. 161
    Happy Person

    Karl@139: I’m a really good above-average dancer, too! I’ve even done it professionally, much to the dismay of the really way above-average dancers. (OK, I worked on a cruise ship once and I had to do it as part of my job.) I travelled all around the world doing that above-average dancing, too. And I spoke several languages very awkwardly in port, mostly in restaurants. (You would not believe how much there is to know about tipping in other countries.)

    I would say that I am squarely above average. Woo hoo!!!!!

  12. 162
    Paragon

    @ Helen

    “My beef with her is not the same one Karl and Joe had: I do believe she is intelligent.”

    I began forming a critical opinion the moment it became evident that her arguments were following from obviously spurious assumptions, and failed to identify(or at least speak to) her own self-serving biases.

  13. 163
    Helen

    Karl R: it’s probable that our experiences in marriage are / will be very different. You are starting relatively later in life, and you mentioned that you are not having children, which substantially changes the picture.

    Nonetheless – marriage is only a small part about stimulating conversations, and a much larger part about the mundane and practical realities of everyday life. Lori Gottlieb got that right. Obviously hub and I don’t have the kind of hypothetical conversations Soul posited. But our conversations are largely practical, and every day I am grateful to be married to someone who is as responsible as he is. I have friends who fell in love with “pie in the sky” idealistic philosopher-types (truthfully, we both started out that way and became more practical with time), who became very frustrated in marriage because one partner was always mooning around and leaving all the mundane chores and practical planning to the other. Good conversation and ability to joke aren’t enough. In fact, it gets downright frustrating if that’s all the other partner can offer, as I’ve witnessed among my friends.

    Not to say that this is your situation. However, marriage turns out to be more about practicalities than stimulating conversation, however rewarding the latter is. It is the former that you’ll come to value far more in your lover. If you’re fortunate, you’ll have both.

  14. 164
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#166)
    “every day I am grateful to be married to someone who is as responsible as he is.”

    I doubt that you’re suggesting that responsibility is a function of intelligence.

    If you’re suggesting that there are traits more important than intelligence in determining the long-term success of a relationship, I completely agree.

    But that just goes back to what Tom said (#137). 99% of mara’s list is irrelevant to men.

    Your point, while correct, doesn’t challenge my assertions that we judge people’s intelligence based upon their ability to communicate, and that we place a higher importance (inside relationships) upon the ability to communicate intelligently rather than academic achievements or the ability to perform quantitative analyses.

    Helen said: (#166)
    “Good conversation and ability to joke aren’t enough.”

    I agree. But I’ve saved myself from considerable grief inside relationships by being able to communicate what is bothering me (and other concerns) in a manner that is inoffensive to my partner.

  15. 165
    Helen

    Karl R: “Your point, while correct, doesn’t challenge my assertions that we judge people’s intelligence based upon their ability to communicate, and that we place a higher importance (inside relationships) upon the ability to communicate intelligently rather than academic achievements or the ability to perform quantitative analyses.”

    First point: I routinely judge people’s intelligence on factors other than their ability to communicate. If we differ on this point, that’s fine. Don’t know about you, but in my workplace and particular community activity, I’m surrounded by non-native English speakers. They may not communicate well in English, but it is obvious to all of us here that they are brilliant, both in theoretical and in practical matters.

    Second point: I never stated that, in relationships, communicating intelligently was less important than academic achievements or quantitative abilities. I do consider it less important than other things: humility, kindness, responsibility, love, loyalty.

    Karl, I am not trying to debate your earlier points. I was, however, surprised at your assessment of mara – but it could be a function of our individual tastes and experiences working with and befriending foreigners.

  16. 166
    Goldie

    @ Helen:

    “Nonetheless – marriage is only a small part about stimulating conversations, and a much larger part about the mundane and practical realities of everyday life. … Good conversation and ability to joke aren’t enough. ”

    While I agree that they aren’t enough, they do not, in my opinion, constitute “only a small part” of a marriage. Possibly with exception of the time when the children are infants and toddlers — in that case, yeah, both parents would prefer a good nap to a stimulating conversation any day. But children grow up fast, and if, by the time they’re in their preteens and teens, parents have no communication going on between them other than about bills and household chores, and no activities they do together as a couple other than housework, yardwork, and occasional sex… it doesn’t bode well for the marriage.

    Also, good communication and the ability to do “mundane chores and practical planning” aren’t mutually exclusive. Likewise, one can spend all day watching TV, drinking, and basically not having an intelligent thought all day, and still not do any chores or practical planning. Or, the other way around, two well-communicating people can organize and perform their chores more efficiently together as a team, leaving themselves more free time to pursue their favorite pie in the sky, be it concerts, exhibits, lectures, travel, what have you.

  17. 167
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#168)
    “in my workplace and particular community activity, I’m surrounded by non-native English speakers. They may not communicate well in English, but it is obvious to all of us here that they are brilliant, both in theoretical and in practical matters.”

    You work in an academic environment. The majority of the members of that environment are regularly tested (formally and informally) on their intelligence and knowledge.

    Furthermore, their presence in the academic community implies a certain degree of brilliance.

    Meet someone in a bar (or on the street) in a major city. How do you evaluate their intelligence if they’re a poor communicator?

    Let me give you a counterexample:
    My fiancée’s stepmother has moderate/severe Alzheimer’s. The first area hit was her speech center. She struggles to put together 2 to 3 word sentences.

    Because of her inability to communicate, we have no way to measure the progress of the disease in other areas. If she fails to perform a simple task, does it mean she didn’t understand what was being asked? Does she still know how to perform the task? Did she forget what she was doing in the middle of the task?

    Two months ago we were debating whether she had mistaken her husband for her father. Since she rarely remembers/uses anyone’s name, there’s a great deal of ambiguity. She clearly recognizes people, but we don’t know if she comprehends their relationship to her.

    That’s a bit of an extreme example, so I’ll provide a second one. How do you determine if someone understands a highly nuanced idea if they lack the vocabulary to discuss the idea in that degree of detail?

  18. 168
    Helen

    Karl R: are you saying the last is relevant to mara? That was what had kicked off the discussion in the first place. She wasn’t responding to a question of yours. She was trying to communicate why she believes herself to be above average. Clearly she got her ideas across (otherwise we wouldn’t all be debating them), even if her English wasn’t stellar and even if these particular traits, however above average they may be, are not all important in a relationship.

    Also – what makes you think I work in an academic environment? It is a research and production environment. For the record, I do have a PhD and know three languages fluently, like mara, but don’t regard that as special. Many people worldwide have both traits, and far more impressive ones. Even those who don’t have these traits have other skills I admire.

    Goldie: which real-live married couples do you know who have stimulating conversations regularly? Doing things together is important, yes.

  19. 169
    Goldie

    @ Helen: A lot of my friends are like that, as in, they enjoy each other’s company, talk about things other than what’s on TV, and do things together that are more intellectually challenging than watching TV (which a couple isn’t going to do if they don’t have an intellectual connection to begin with). Then again, many couples I know never do any of these things. As long as both people are fine with whatever arrangement they have, awesome. I just disagree with your statement that a good marriage always has to be all boredom and chores. It doesn’t have to be that way.

  20. 170
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#171)
    “She was trying to communicate why she believes herself to be above average. Clearly she got her ideas across (otherwise we wouldn’t all be debating them),”

    Was she trying to communicate why she believes herself to be above average, or was she trying to communicate that she is above average? If you start reading at (#134), it seems to be the former. If you start reading at (#129), it seems to be the latter.

    Just a little nuance of communication.

    My suspicion is that she was trying to communicate the latter, and actually communicated the former.

    And as you pointed out (#140), she could have accomplished the latter far more effectively just through the way she communicated.

  21. 171
    Helen

    Goldie: whoa, what? I never stated what you claimed: “I just disagree with your statement that a good marriage always has to be all boredom and chores.” Where did you get this from? Certainly not from me.

    Marriage is anything but boring. It’s wonderful.

  22. 172
    Goldie

    @ Helen, this is what it comes across, at least to me, when you say (here as well as on multiple previous threads):

    “…marriage is only a small part about stimulating conversations, and a much larger part about the mundane and practical realities of everyday life.”

    What does mundane mean if not boring? Boring is not necessarily a bad thing to everyone. You can call it stable if you like. Stable is good. A lot of people loooove stable.

    Anyway, what I am trying to say is — I understand your kids are pretty young still, so you may not realize it now, but, after a certain point (certainly after they move out or leave for college), the volume of “mundane and practical realities” drops, in comparison to what it used to be, to almost zero. (Because, seriously, how much housework do two adults who are out of the house 10-12 hours of the day, really require to keep themselves clean and fed?) I’ve known quite a few couples (was a part of one) who, at that point, found they had nothing to talk about, because they’d grown apart. Practical realities of everyday life was the only thing holding them together. When those went away, they had nothing left. In our case, we also didn’t do much around the house together. He did the bare minimum when repeatedly asked to, and I did what I could on my own. My parents helped as well. So we didn’t even have the “practical realities” in common. When I talked to my husband about it, saying in these exact words “there’s nothing the two of us enjoy doing together, not even housework” he said that he was aware of it and that it was okay. “Not every marriage has to be perfect”. Well to me, there’s not quite perfect and then there is complete lack of communication, and I don’t believe these two are the same, so I took the kids and moved out.

    I assume there’s more intellectual stimulation in your family than you give yourselves credit for. You two just take it for granted, because you’ve always had it, and you don’t know firsthand what it means to not have any.

  23. 173
    Helen

    Goldie: I don’t mean this in a harsh way (believe me, we’ve agreed on enough things in the past), but it seems that you’re taking out your frustrations from your previous marriage on me. No two people’s and no two couples’ experiences are the same, so you cannot generalize from your own experience to what’s going on with mine. You don’t know my kids’ ages (I sympathized with Evan in one post about his babysitting spell, but that doesn’t mean I have a baby), nor the amount of intellectual stimulation in our household.

    I’m sorry things didn’t work out with your ex. He sounds like a slacker, which would have frustrated me more than the lack of communication.

  24. 174
    Nicole

    Actually Helen, you’re being passive-aggressive towards Goldie by suggesting that she can’t contribute meaningfully to the conversation because she got divorced.

    On the contrary, she gives a LOT of insight to people who have never been married b/c she is able to speak rationally about what did and did not work in her marriage.

    At any rate, it’s not really fair to insult someone to win an argument. It’s called derailing.

    I personally made the point too that it IS hard to judge someone’s intelligence or more importantly, some of the important parts of their personality, humor, compassion, empathy when you don’t share a common language with someone. It is really hard to really connect with someone who can only say a few words to you. Granted, some people LIKE that, but it does matter to others, and that’s not a small need to some of us.

    I’ve spent a lot of time around people who are non-native English speakers and who don’t speak English well, and even in terms of friendships, it is pretty much impossible to really be friends with people who can’t really speak to you well or understand what you have to say. I fail to see how that doesn’t matter in a long-term romantic relationships. A person doesn’t have to be brilliant to be a good communicator and a brilliant person who can’t speak to you in some common language isn’t going to be very interesting for very long.

    And no amount of brilliance in a lab or on a test can make up for any of that.

  25. 175
    Observer

    I am not trying to be insulting or demeaning to anyone here, but why was all of the above energy, time, resources, etc. invested in this blog?

    I will speculate that the conclusion of this free will exercise was that perhaps “you” cannot gauge how “attractive you are” with any consistent criteria.

  26. 176
    Helen

    Nicole: tell me where I insulted Goldie. Obviously that was not my intent, as I’m sure she herself knows.

  27. 177
    Soul

    @ Helen:

    I agree with what you are saying and I honestly think you should let go of the conversation. In fact, your argumentation is nuanced and I clearly understand it. Yet, for some reason, Karl and Goldie seem not to get those nuances (I wonder what their mother tongue is….ahahahah)

  28. 178
    Goldie

    @ Helen: hmm, it’s hard to convey the tone of voice over a forum comment, and because of that, you may have misunderstood me. From what you’ve written about yourself, I think you have a great family. I also think there’s a good deal of intellectual stimulation going on between all of you. This is why any time you say that the marriage is “only a small part about stimulating conversations, and a much larger part about the mundane and practical realities of everyday life”, it puzzles me, because I don’t even see it happening in your own family, from what you’ve said about it. Not to sound harsh (c), but this is one piece of advice I wouldn’t give to any married couple. Granted, if they aren’t into “stimulating conversations”, they don’t have to have them. But, if they are, they don’t need to change themselves into something they’re not and abandon all things intellectual in favor of everyday practical stuff.

    BTW my children are 16 and 19, in HS and college. I remember you mentioning school and after-school activities, so assumed that yours are in middle school or so.

    The rest of my post doesn’t apply to your family, which, as you correctly stated, I don’t know much about. It does however apply to your statement that I quoted, in case people decide to follow it, in which case I’d ask them to reconsider. In addition to everything I said above, here’s why. Reason number one. Unless you live on a farm, build your own house, grow your own food, keep cattle etc., household work is not rocket science. It is not hard. It gets even easier when kids grow up and start helping out with it. Therefore, it is not worth dedicating your whole marriage to, unless you like it that way, in which case, go for it. If you like doing something else together as a couple, then organize your housework so you can get it out of the way as fast as possible, and go do those things. If there’s nothing you like doing together as a couple, go get couples therapy ASAP.

    Reason number two. Right now in my family, there are two people that I have intellectually challenging conversations with (parts of which fly over my head) on a daily basis. These two people are my children. To a married couple with young, or preteen, kids, it may seem like a good idea to stop taking care of themselves intellectually in favor of the kids’ activities and upkeep. Don’t. Carve out some time for things you liked doing for your own personal growth before the kids came along. The payback will be immense when these kids are teen-aged, or college-aged, and still come to you for advice and conversation. (Believe me, you will NEED to give that advice, and make sure it doesn’t fall on deaf ears! You will also probably want to know what your kids think, and what they’re up to.)

    @ Nicole #177, thanks, this is exactly the message I’m trying to get across. I’ve had a family since ’91, as did most of my friends, so by now I can tell what does and doesn’t work at various stages of a marriage. Right now, most of my friends’ kids have left, or are leaving, home, so I am able to observe them at that stage as well.

    As far as language difference, yeah this is tough. I have an accent and it didn’t go over well with quite a few guys. Either they couldn’t see an LTR with me, or they saw me as an exotic experience they wanted to have so they could tell their grandkids they’d dated a foreign chick. Being from a different culture is a liability as much as it is an asset, but that’s all right, I make up for it in other ways ;)

    @ #178 – the thread probably went OT because looks alone can only get you so far on the dating market ;) it’s like an impressive resume on a job market — it will get you an initial interview, but you won’t get a job or keep it, let alone have a career, if you have nothing to show except that one resume.

  29. 179
    m

    Paragon @ 141 –

    Black women deviate quite remarkably from all other human female clinal variants on earth

    o.O

    I have no idea what ‘clinal’ is.

  30. 180
    Paragon

    @ m

    “Paragon @ 141 –

    Black women deviate quite remarkably from all other human female clinal variants on earth

    o.O

    I have no idea what ‘clinal’ is.”

    I substituted for ‘racial'(as ‘clinal’ is more biologically accurate).

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